HMO licences are going to cost landlords in Cornwall a massive 210% more in a few months.
Cornwall Council has voted to ratchet up the price of a shared house licence from £157.50 to £490 as councillors believe the higher fee reflects on the true cost of the service they offer landlords.
The price goes up from October 14, 2013, so does not leave landlords much time to act.
As an incentive, landlords without a house in multiple occupation licence (HMO) will have to fork out £650 if the council finds out they are renting illegally.
Relicensing every five years will cost £365 – but the council offers discounts to landlords who are signed up to accreditation schemes.
For them, a new licence costs £420 and renewal fees come down to £310.
The council estimates the area has around 220 HMOs, mostly let to students in the Falmouth area.
Justifying the price hike, the council explained that the licence cost includes making checks on the owner to make sure they have no criminal convictions or court problems with tenants.
The fee also covers a property inspection and a fire safety check.
Cornwall Council’s cabinet member for homes and communities Geoff Brown said: “It is important that all shared accommodation is up to standard and not in a condition that it puts tenants’ health, safety and wellbeing in jeopardy. Even more important is the thorough and effective licensing of the larger shared houses subject to mandatory HMO licensing.”
HMO fines in Bath
Meanwhile, three landlords with HMOs over restaurants in Bath have faced the courts for letting the properties without licences and for flouting safety and management laws.
At Bath Magistrates Court, in unconnected cases, the following fines and costs were ordered:
- The manager of The Royal Dragon, Coronation Avenue, Bath, admitted failing to licence an HMO and management offences. He was fined £4,000 with £500 costs.
- The leaseholder of Cinnamon, in High Street, Keynsham, admitted failing to licence an HMO and management offences. He was fined £4,000 with £500 costs.
- The leaseholder of Orient Express, Lansdown Road, Bath, was fined £7,000 with £500 costs after admitting letting a flat as an HMO without a licence and failing to manage the property.